I’m David Victory, and I shoot fashion photography in Los Angeles. I have been exclusively doing this for the past seven years, and that’s because fashion is both cyclical and seasonal. No matter how good my images are from season to season, the brands trash the photos and come back for more!
I also produce fashion videos which are due to my start-up career as a motion picture cameraman when film really was king.
So I have slowly dropped every other genre of photography and film and just focused on fashion with the high demand from my clients and the market. My tenacity for success against all odds keeps me in this industry.
I was handed my first camera at age five, it was a plastic lens Diana camera which took one hundred and twenty roll of film. It had a red window in the back where you could count the frames, and for my age, it was the enigma machine.
I would sit on the stairs and click the shutter and wonder how that piece of metal moving up and down created a photograph.
With the calendar pages turning, at age eight, I developed my first black and white image in the darkroom while holding a tray of Dektol in my hands. It was this magical moment that changed my life and sealed my career way back in the seventies.
I have had the pleasure of shooting with many brands of cameras, such as Panavision, Mitchell, Arri, Sinar, Hasselblad, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, and others.
To me, a camera is like a time machine, and I love them all because it’s the one thing that enables my endless creativity.
My Canon 5D III recently expired, so now it’s the Canon EOS 80D and Canon EOS 60D. They are lightweight and much cheaper, so I don’t need to carry insurance anymore. They don’t break my wrist or my back when shooting all day, sometimes in and out of helicopters.
I rent anything else as I need it and gave up on the camera ordering game when I bought my last expensive one, the Canon 1DC, which was an expensive outlay at eleven thousand dollars.
I don’t enjoy buying the latest and greatest camera any more, and my photos are proof that a good photographer needs an okay camera. A great photographer can shoot with any camera.
The behind-the-scenes camera often in the hands of my assistants is a Sony RX100 IV; who said cheap is not good?
The out-of-production Canon 80D dynamic range is still up to par, and for many of my social media modeling sessions, I shoot exclusively on my 108-megapixel android. I now tend to spend money on business marketing and SEO work; for me, that’s where it’s at.
In four decades, a client has never asked me: Hey David, what camera are you shooting with or where did you graduate?
Both of my Canon cameras are at the limit of their shutter count, so there is probably a Canon R5 purchase for me in the not-too-distant future.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 – my favorite eCommerce studio fashion photography lens. At f/6.3, it is sharp and has minimal distortion.
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 L macro – super sharp, no distortion at any F Stop. I use it for fashion, portraits, and products.
Canon EF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 – when things are crazy, and shooting is out of control in broad daylight, I will tend to use it. Lightroom can tame the distortions, but it is still one of the worst lenses ever made by anyone.
Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 – only used in manual mode for controlled studio eCommerce work, mostly product photography.
Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 – one of the best fashion photography lenses, sharp and wide enough without looking weird.
Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 – a classic portrait lens, a real gem!
Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 – when shooting wide open, you see the glass!
Nikkor 28mm f/2.0 – mostly used in the studio.
For lights, I only pack the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite which is triggered with a YN-E3-RT. I started with a fifteen-unit mix of Canon and Yongnuo, only eight of which are still firing. Gone are the days of heavy studio strobes.
I have 100 Eneloop AA batteries that are kept in the fridge and two Powerex smart chargers. No issues with any of these for five years.
Arri 4 x 650 tungsten kit
3 x Ikan led panels with temp control
3 x seven-foot folding reflectors
3 x deep seven-foot parabolic umbrellas
Delkin SD cards which I find extremely reliable.
8 x E6 batteries
Tiffen glass filters
Zhiyun 5 gimbal
Rode – Sennheiser mics
Plenty of grip and support equipment.
Tamrac soft bags is all I use to get this stuff around, which I find durable and roomy.
A Joby strap does the job for me.
For tripods, I have an Oben fiberglass plus a Gitzo, Sachtler fluid head, and a Chrosziel matt box custom fitted via CNC.
These days I can fit all of my gear plus two passengers in a regular SUV!
For editing, I have a custom water-cooled PC tower with 70TB of storage plus a MacBook Pro, built to last.
I use Lightroom, which is constantly improving and will eventually be as good as Capture One, and of course, I have a Photoshop suite.
It’s not what you have, it’s what you can do with it.
The best camera in the world is the one strapped around your neck.